The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0309 Tuesday, 11 April 2006
From: Tony Burton <
Date: Monday, 10 Apr 2006 18:00:49 -0400
Subject: 17.0301 Monsieur La Far
Comment: Re: SHK 17.0301 Monsieur La Far
I'm surprised that no one has connected the Monsieur La Far of Lear with
the Monsieur Le Fer of Henry V. Both names have evoked speculation that
it carries some unrecognized significance. Given the vagaries of
English orthography and regional or class differences in pronunciation,
the "e"/"a" variation practically assures that the names were pronounced
the same way. For starters, think of clerk/clark, derby/Darby,
sergeant/Sargent, and then compile your own list. Moreover, Shakespeare
regularly conflated the French articles "la" and "les" with "le."
Although I've never seen a dictionary entry to this effect, Deanne
Williams occasionally translates the French "fer" as the Queen in chess,
in her "The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare."
If anyone comes up with a new (and documented) alternative suggestion,
please let me know. The question has been on my mind for ages.
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